With the fruit juice market in Japan in decline, sales of Tropicana products were stagnating. The company’s Essentials range of functional juices, launched in 2015, set out to create a new segment, targeted at health conscious consumers. The choice of Tetra Prisma® Aseptic 330 Square with DreamCap™ 26 was crucial in creating differentiation, highlighting the health benefits to the consumer and creating new consumption occasions. The package has played a key role in influencing both supermarkets and convenience stores to give the range increased – and more prominent – shelf space.
Kirin Tropicana Inc. – a joint venture between Tropicana and beverage producer Kirin Company – was established in 1991. The company produces a range of juice drinks and coconut water in carton packages, PET and cans and Tropicana juices are packed by co-packers. Kirin Tropicana is one of Japan’s number one juice brand by volume.
Chief competitor brands include Sujahta, Dole, Sunkist and Minute Maid.
Despite its market-leading position, Tropicana had been strongly affected by the ongoing decline in fruit juice sales in Japan. Between 2010 and 2014, the traditional 100% fruit juice market shrunk 19% from 683m to 552m litres/year. Sales of Tropicana juices in Tetra Brik® Aseptic 250 were also hard hit, falling 26% between 2009 and 2014. Supermarkets were devoting less space to the category and convenience stores (an important outlet in Japan) were increasingly stocking private-label fruit juices. Vegetable juices, soy drinks and drinking yoghurt were occupying increasing amounts of shelf space, and were seen by consumers as the healthy option. Research confirmed that Japanese consumers felt they lacked a clear reason to buy fruit juice rather than these competing products.
As category leader, Tropicana set out to stimulate the market and create a new segment within the juice category. Following market research, they settled on the idea of a functional fruit juice with new flavours and added health benefits through the addition of fibre, calcium and iron. Clear positioning would be key to success and packaging would need to strongly differentiate the new offer from standard juice products. Tropicana chose Tetra Prisma Aseptic 330 Square DreamCap 26: it conveys a fresh image, clear differentiation and signals a premium product. The cap was deemed particularly suitable for the female target market while the reclosable cap made it ideal for on-the-go consumption throughout the day. This added convenience factor and the larger carton size meant it could be priced higher than products in Tetra Brik Aseptic 250 Slim.
When consumers were asked what they liked about the new range, taste came out on top (71%), closely followed by the opening: good to drink from/easy flow (60%); reclosability (55%); easy to use, open and close (44%). Responses also included: good design (42%); and holds the right volume (41%). DreamCap 26 helped mark out the product as innovative and linked it visually with other premium blended drinks rather than standard juice. Tropicana decided to use a green cap – the first coloured cap in this market – for added differentiation on the shelf and to convey the idea of freshness and health.
Supermarkets and convenience stores are the main retail points for juice in Japan and both were reducing shelf space for standard fruit juice portion packs. It was crucial that Essentials command substantial shelf space from the outset. Tropicana negotiated high exposure in stores at launch, creating special display shelves and in-store communication for supermarkets. In convenience stores the launch of three flavours as a series of SKUs (a fourth flavour was added in April 2015 and a fifth in January 2016) ensured Essentials stood out as a block on the shelf. In-store displays, carton stickers and a web-based consumer campaign focused on the products’ nutritional benefits – asking “Are you getting enough nutrients?”
AEON supermarket chain hosted a Tropicana Essentials joint campaign with Morinaga’s TBC and Tropicoco ranges. The campaign, initiated by Tropicana, focused on the DreamCap: “For your active everyday life – drink anywhere, anytime”. Consumers with a receipt showing they had purchased an eligible product were entered into a competition to win lifestyle products. This unusual cross-brand collaboration shows the value of the package format in defining and promoting a product range.
Tropicana Essentials were officially launched in January 2015 and sales have grown consistently ever since. Tropicana wanted to revive the portion pack market by providing an exciting alternative to its plain juices, and by all market measures they have succeeded. Overall carton portion pack sales increased by 71% between June 2014 and June 2016.
More than a third of purchasers were “new users” (consumers who were previously non-users or lapsed users of fruit juice), while 31% of existing fruit juice users increased frequency of purchase once they switched to Essentials. While Tetra Brik Aseptic 250 Slim sales remain steady, in 2015 Essentials accounted for around 40% of Tropicana’s total portion pack sales. The key success factors for the Essentials range include a good product (with a clear concept and positioning, as well as a good taste), clear communication of benefits to consumer (through in-store displays, campaigns and stickers), good availability and visibility in store from the outset, impactful and functional packaging, and a customer fully committed to creating a new segment.
Kirin Tropicana is actively looking to build on the success of the Essentials range, they launched a new SKU in January 2016 supported by an advertising campaign in commuter trains. Sales continue to increase rapidly.